Business Continuity: Key to Long-term Client Relationships
No matter how good your intentions for preparing for a crisis, no one is really ever quite prepared for the worst. This probably has something to do with human nature and an innate inability to contemplate a truly worst-case scenario. Yet, prepare we must because the consequences can be dire. I’m sure most, if not all, of you are familiar with the statistics on companies that suffer major data losses: Most of them go out of business. I bet many of you have used such statistics to make a case for business continuity strategies.
Indeed, the stats have become cliché. Yet, that doesn’t minimize the importance of having a sound disaster recovery plan for any business, no matter how small. This need was highlighted with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as well as subsequent events such as the tsunami in December 2005, Hurricane Katrina and, most recently, the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Natural disasters remind us that data loss and business interruptions can be caused by forces far greater than malicious hacker attacks or simple neglect. Businesses located in disaster-prone areas, therefore, have additional compelling reasons to develop and implement business continuity plans.
The first step toward implementing a plan is to acknowledge you need it. That may seem like an odd necessary step, but the fact is SMB companies historically have been lax about data storage, protection and recovery. So for a business continuity plan to even get off the ground, IT service providers must show their customers they need a plan. Recognition of a problem, after all, is the first step toward a workable solution.
With that out of the way, providers can proceed with the next step, which is a risk analysis of the client’s environment. Anything that threatens uptime, be it virus threats, inadequate data access management or external risk such as fire and flood potential, must be taken into consideration. Understanding the risks enables the provider and the client to make the best decisions on what kind of plan to implement.
With risk information in hand, planners can then start to work on the components of the plan, including the roles and responsibilities of staff members, contingencies, setting service level expectations in the aftermath of a disaster, and thorough documentation. The documentation should cover existing IT assets, data protection storage and recovery, and the procedures to be followed in the event of a disaster.
Of course, no plan can be properly developed and implemented without a budget, so budgetary considerations must be a part of any successful planning. For SMBs that have neglected their data protection, storage and recovery responsibilities, this means coming up with the money to put the systems in place. Fortunately, cloud computing provides a highly scalable – and affordable – solution for what may have been way too expensive for small business budgets.
Where We Fit In
Zenith Infotech has gained a lot of credibility over the years for its business continuity solutions that simplify the development and implementation of backup and disaster recovery plans. As we shift into a cloud-centric world, business continuity will continue to be a core function we offer clients through our partners. Indeed, SmartStyle MirrorCloud, released earlier this year, delivers the flexibility to increase or decrease capacity as resource needs change – or leverage the solution to run an entire infrastructure virtually.
This reliable, cost-effective business continuity technology is a logical building block for the provider-client relationship. Over 1,000 units have been deployed by our Partners in just a couple months. If you can assure the customer that you can protect their data and get them up and running quickly even through some of the most unimaginable disaster scenario, you are setting the foundation for a long-term relationship. Please visit our web page for more information and to sign up for a no-risk MirrorCloud or SmartStyle Office evaluation.
Maurice Saluan is senior VP of sales for Zenith Infotech as well as seasoned sales veteran in the managed service arena. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of MSPmentor’s 2011 Platinum sponsorship. Find all of Saluan’s blog entries here.